Friday, April 13, 2007

Clouds of Change

After getting an inch of rain, the sky is now clearing. Clouds race across the horizon, first in shades of gray, then white puffs with hints of blue behind them, and finally dark and threatening gray again. The wind roared across the mountain last night. Branches dropped onto the cabin roof, and called Baby Dog to barking.

This morning, the wind is strong but no longer roaring. The vultures were airborne as soon as it was light enough to see. Perhaps they were lured into such an early flight because they were ground-bound by the rain yesterday. Perhaps they also know that a nor’easter is due tomorrow and could bring snow back to the area. Today will be the only day they have, probably, to search for food, and they want to take advantage of every minute.

To me, the weather feels like late October or early November. If it was, I’d be proclaiming it “golden eagle weather” and would try to put myself on a hawkwatch someplace. But northwest winds in spring are just the opposite of good migration weather.

With this year’s weather so unusual, I’m afraid the spring migration, when it happens, will be over in a day or two. Somewhere, further south, the spring birds are backed up by this weather, waiting for it to improve before attempting the flight north. Those who have the furthest to go will likely fly for long hours and may well overfly this area without stopping.
For now, I have a phoebe calling—after silence for several days—and the towhee’s song to fill the woods. Tomorrow’s snow is still a day away.

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